State Auditor calls on all state elected officials and government leaders to guarantee personnel policies cover domestic violence-related incidents
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway is looking to protect employees in domestic violence situations. This week, the top-ranking Democrat in statewide office put in place new policies in her office that ensure domestic violence is covered as a category for leave under existing workplace protections.
Galloway says the change in policy is designed to protect the employees in her office and is encouraging all state-elected officials and government leaders to do the same.
“No one should be forced to choose between escaping a domestic violence situation and their livelihood. If an employee is forced to leave home to be safe, we want to ensure that they don’t have to worry about losing their job, which could worsen conditions and make them more likely to be victimized in the future,” Galloway said. “I encourage all offices in state government to evaluate their own leave policies and ensure they would apply to situations where employees could be away from work due to a domestic violence incident.”
The current federal law protects an employee’s job security when taking time off work due to medical reasons, either their own or families. But it does not guarantee those rights to people needing time off because of a domestic violence-related incident.
This workplace protection policy would allow employees to use their accumulated paid sick leave when dealing with domestic violence situations. It also allows employees dealing with domestic violence the ability to draw from the office’s shared paid annual leave pool. In the event that all other leave options have been exhausted, the employee could take unpaid leave. It also guarantees that the employee can return to work, even if they exhaust their paid leave.
The auditor’s move has been praised by Wendy Doyle, President & CEO of Women’s Foundation, who released the following statement:
“Women’s Foundation applauds State Auditor Nicole Galloway for implementing commonsense office policies to protect the safety and well-being of her staff,” Doyle said. “Women and men should not have to choose between their job and their safety. Domestic violence compromises more than one’s health—it has a devastating impact on the victim’s finances, which ultimately impacts Missouri’s economy. We hope more executive branch offices follow Auditor Galloway’s lead.
“It is also our hope that this action raises awareness, and that members of the General Assembly pass legislation such as SB 268 (sponsored by Sen. Jill Schupp) and HB 842 (sponsored by Rep. Gina Mitten) which provide unpaid leave for employees and their children impacted by domestic and sexual violence.”